What I Watched This Week: 25 Jan 2015

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Defense Rests” (A-)
Chris Parnell was always the most vanilla utility player on SNL. Lately, he’s proven himself a valuable addition to any sitcom, including the dearly departed Suburgatory. Here, as Eva Longoria’s coked-up boss, he’s a force of nature that even Jake can’t handle. As usual, Holt is dynamite in his internal debate to sabotage Wunch (Kyra Sedgwick) or not. “Not anymore. Her name is Butt.”

Togetherness – “Insanity” (B+)
Right now, this is my favorite show. That will change once The Americans gets going, but for now, this low-key dramedy is the 30 minutes I most want to spend in front of the TV. Steve Zissis is killing it right now, perfectly capturing Alex’s devastation when Tina reveals what her selfish nature.

Parks and Recreation – “Gryzzlbox” (A-), “Save JJ’s” (B+)
Hard to believe we’re already more than halfway done with the final season. The first half is one of the show’s best civic-minded half-hours, taking on Gryzzl’s blatantly un-chill invasions of privacy. The second episode isn’t quite as sharp, but does feature the biggest Treat Yo Self Day yet. It’s biggest crime? Wasting Keegan Michael-Key as Donna’s fiancé.

The Americans – “EST Men” (A-) / season premiere
A solid premiere that can be forgiven for not being quite on par with the best show on television in 2014. Any less-than-thrilling plot developments are small potatoes compared to the presence of Frank Langella, whose presence can’t help but feel a little ominous, despite Philip and Elizabeth’s warm feelings towards him.

The Simpsons (Season 8) – “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(d’oh)cious” (B-)
Some of the numbers are catchy, but this is really one of my least favorite episode from the Golden Age. Musical episodes just really don’t do it for me, except for “The President Wore Pearls,” which truly commits to it.

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